Picking Your Battles – Two Stories

Both stories are about families who were repeating a fight without much resolution. They decided to let the cause of friction go for a while to reduce overall tension and focus on different ways to help their children learn.

Story 1

A couple came to see me because they wanted to reduce the yelling they were doing especially on rainy or cold days when they were stuck inside with their little ones. The parents were in their mid 40’s, had been living together for a long time and were proud owners of two antique chairs that were the centerpiece of their living room. We talked and discovered that one common fight occurred when their children began jumping on the bouncy but delicate chairs, something they did frequently throughout the day. It was particularly annoying when the siblings seemed to almost “enjoy” reprimands to stop.

As we spoke Mom and Dad decided to lower the overall tension in the house by temporarily moving the chairs to a less central spot and by focusing their attention on staying calm but clear when helping their young ones get to bed at a reasonable hour – a more important concern.

Story 2

A Mom of twin boys was concerned about the challenges of getting her pre-schoolers out of the house in the morning on time. She had bought them two different winter jackets to give them their own identify (a good idea) but they often fought over who had the better coat.

She tried everything she could think of without success and decided that having a relatively nice morning together was very important to everyone. She ended up buying another “popular” coat, convinced that there were plenty of other times she was taking steps to support their individuality.